96. Jane's Addiction - Stop!

My friend Todd has this fascination with songs that completely stop in the middle and then start right back up. He loves ‘em. Jane’s Addiction not only does that in this song, they has the balls to actually call it that. Stop! Even with the exclamation point. They had Todd at ! Me, too.

Jane’s Addiction takes so many musical styles in this single song, it makes me think that they might have had twenty or so ideas left over while they were recording “Ritual de lo Habital” and challenged themselves to see if they could coherently put them together.

There’s the weird opening in Spanish that had all of us white boys asking their Latino friends what the hell that was. Here it is: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have more influence over your children than you do. But we love them, too. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jane’s Addiction.” How awesome is that! Subversive, but in such a cool way. And that’s before the song even starts.

It really gets going with a pretty standard guitar riff by Dave Navaro and then Perry Ferrell sets it all off with a screamed, “Here we go!” And boy do they go. Hard and fast. Lots of really cool guitar work all over the place. Dave jumps from doing some restrained work in the verses to really strutting his stuff in the choruses. Then comes the Stop! that Todd loves so much. For the first two minutes, it’s just a race to see how fast they can play. Then it all slows down into almost a progressive rock train of thought meditation for a bit. But then it kicks you in the ass again heading into another of Dave’s killer solos. Then there’s the weird scat-rap thing, and one final burst of insanity. Then, stop.

I had to listen to this song four or five times just to figure out how it was all put together and whether it made any sense at all. Then I realized, after reading the lyrics a few times, maybe it’s not supposed to mean anything. Maybe it means everything and I’m just too dense to figure it out. So I played it one more time, this time paying closer attention to the lyrics and Perry’s phrasing. Nope. Still don’t get it. Don’t care, though. Still love this song.

But when I was all done, after seven listens, I put in on one more time. That’s why this is one of the greatest songs of my lifetime. I couldn’t help myself.

(I looked for a video on Youtube of the album version of the song, but I couldn't find one. This is a very cool live version that they did at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2002. But try to track down the album version if you like the song.)

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